Disclosure: We received a free copy of this book from the publisher in order to share our review of their product. We only ever feature products we consider worthy. All opinions expressed in this post are based on our personal view.

Those Three Words is a book about adoption written by a woman who falls pregnant at the age of 19, and after briefly considering taking her own life, decides to live and deal with her new reality.

After regaining a better sense of perspective, she takes the pragmatic decision to terminate the pregnancy, so that no one would need to know about it, her family first of all. While in the process of planning her covert abortion operation, and all along struggling with the implications of her choice, she stumbles upon the news of a violent protest outside of an abortion clinic. The shocking messages and attacks of pro-life campaigners add more distress but she perseveres, and with the help of a friend she organises a fake holiday trip in one of the states where abortion is legal. She’s moments away from terminating her pregnancy and giving in on this baby, but at the last minute her conscience prevails and she decides to cancel the clinic appointment.

Her options at this point are either to keep the baby or find someone who could look after her. It would seem I kind of gave the end away in the opening sentence of this post, except this is not how the story ends; that’s just the beginning. This book is about the life of a woman after she decides that her child should be given for adoption.

Those Three Words is the first book I’ve read that was written by a birth mother. I read about adoption almost every day, but what I read always starts with the adoption. It’s easy to forget that these children were the children of their birth parents first. What happened before the adoption is hardly ever mentioned, unless it is tragic, that is, and even less common for me is to read what happens to the birth parents after the adoption is finalised.

Reading this book has been hard at times because it forced me to live a part of my child’s life I’ve never even bother considering before. I never thought about how the months of pregnancy must have felt for his birth parents, the doubts about the decision they had taken, and the pain of holding the child in the first moments of his life and having to say goodbye only minutes later. And anything I could imagine doesn’t even come close to the account of a woman who lived through all of that.

As the adoption is finalised, the mother in this book can carry on with her life. She rejoins college and goes on to complete her degree. She embarks in her career, and later starts her own family but, in all this, the pain of losing her child never really fades. The adoption is part of a past she cannot and does not want to forget, even when it taints otherwise joyous occasions, like the birth of her first nephew, or the birth of her “first” child.

What strikes me the most, tho, is the amount of gratitude this mother shows towards the parents who adopted her child. Being an open adoption, she meets with them at the beginning of the process and over the years they get to know one another through letter exchange. She chooses them, although the match is completely fortuitous, and knowing that her child is loved and supported by the family she chose brings her comfort. It was a good reminder of how important the exchange of contact letters can be for birth parents. But reading about it I couldn’t help wondering if the birth mother of my son would have picked us, given the choice.

Throughout this book, I gained a new perspective. Although I will never truly understand what it feels like being a birth parent, at least I’m more aware of what it meant for this mother who loved her child from a distance for so many years. Reading it stirred many different emotions, often negative ones. Some about a past I conveniently decided to ignore for so many years, others about future events that one day I may have to live, like the reunion between my son and their birth parents. But I’m glad I did read it.


Those Three Words, thumb

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